The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Three Ways to Turn Your Academic School Year Around

Foto: DNB, Stephan Jockel
Students studying at a library.

As the first marking period comes to an end, students at THS have gotten back into the flow of things. Some have been staying on top of their assignments, using their early-school year motivation as fuel every night to finish their assignments, study for tests, and sleep early. Others have not had the same motivation. But even for those that are motivated, burnout is a big issue that looms around the corner.

“I see school as a marathon rather than a short sprint,” Abhinav De (’26) said. “I have personally experienced burnout in schoolwork and in other extracurricular activities.” Many other students feel the same way.

Whether you are currently doing great in school or are falling behind in work, here are three ways—backed by science and student experiences—to turn your school year around.


1. Adjust your study environment.

The environment you study in can have a big effect on the quality of the time you spend studying. Although working in the same place in your house might be a comfortable habit, it can be a good idea to change your study environment—especially if you’re struggling to work efficiently. Finding a different location in your house can work well, such as a different room or even your backyard. Walking or driving to different locations outside your house such as a cafe can also drastically change your work energy.

“I go to cafes to study because I feel that I can focus on my studying a lot better,” Jiahn Hong (’26) said. “The change in environment, and the fact that there is a closing time for the cafe makes me want to get my work done much faster. An added perk is that I can buy some food and drinks while I’m [studying].”

Juhee (Grace) Kim (’25) expressed a similar opinion: “When I work in my house, I always get distracted by the things around me. At the library, though, I feel a lot more productive and the environment there is more study-oriented in general. It’s also always fun to meet up and study with my friends at the library.”


2. Overcome procrastination.

Procrastination is a big, scary word, and a phenomenon that many students unfortunately succumb to. So much of our time is spent procrastinating rather than productively finishing schoolwork or working on other projects. According to the education company Magoosh, 86% of surveyed high schoolers acknowledged that they procrastinate; 66% also affirmed that they have pulled an all-nighter in the past year. TikTok, Instagram, and other social media apps are notoriously known for taking hours out of your day.

“Most of my day after school is spent on TikTok, and it’s a hard habit to break,” Chang Yoon Kim (’26) shared. “I always manage to get assignments done last-minute but it’s not ideal and doesn’t leave much time for me to do anything else.” Like many others, Chang Yoon struggles with stalling our work until the last minute. So how can you overcome procrastination?

The answer to procrastination is not simple; there is no one-size-fits all solution. Limiting screen time on social media using Apple’s Screen Time feature or other third party apps is a great way to focus on studying—and waste less time on your phone in general. In addition, leaving your phone in a different room can help drastically. University of Texas Professor Dr. Adrian F. Ward et al. conducted a study on how the accessibility of your phone can affect your cognitive ability. “We see a linear trend that suggests that as the smartphone becomes more noticeable, participants’ available cognitive capacity decreases,” the scientists reported. “Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but that process—the process of requiring yourself to not think about something—uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. It’s a brain drain.”

Another way you can combat procrastination is the five-minute rule. Research shows that getting started on your work is a lot harder than actually getting that work done. If you can convince yourself to work for “just five minutes,” chances are that you will find the motivation to keep going and even finish the work.


3. Change your mindset.

Last but not least, changing your mindset is an efficient way to increase your productivity both at school and at home. School is a mental battle more than a physical one, so your mindset is crucial. Having a goal can really help; trying to achieve that grade or GPA you’ve always wanted gives you a reason to pay attention in class, and to study for tests and quizzes. Fortunately, changing your mindset is completely possible.

“The exciting news about mindsets is that they are absolutely changeable,” Dr. Jacob Towery, a Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences expert from Stanford asserted. “The entire field of cognitive therapy is based on the idea that thoughts determine feelings and that you can learn powerful techniques to modify distorted thoughts and self-defeating beliefs.” Changing your academic mindset brings together the two ideas above. Catering your study environment to help you be more productive can change your mindset to be more concentrated. “Tidy desk, tidy mind,” as the saying goes. Furthermore, a good mindset can go a long way towards beating procrastination. Having your mind ready to study will prevent you from falling into the trap of sitting down at your desk and immediately opening TikTok.


Different methods work for different people, but with these three ideas in mind, you can find yourself being the straight-A student you’ve always wanted to be (and maybe also fix that sleep schedule of yours).

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About the Contributors
Davin Shin
Davin Shin, Staff Writer
Davin Shin ('26) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. He loves exploring controversial topics and sports. His hobbies include playing soccer, watching sports, reading, and hanging out with friends.
Sara Hau
Sara Hau, Guest Writer
Sara Hau ('25) is so happy to be a Guest Writer for The Echo! English and Math are her favorite subjects in school, and she loves creative writing in her free time. She also enjoys being class secretary as well as performing in school theater.